JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The omicron variant is offering more hints about what it may have in store as it spreads around the globe: A highly transmissible virus that may cause less severe disease, and one that can be slowed — but not stopped — by today’s vaccines. An analysis Tuesday of data from South Africa suggests the Pfizer vaccine offers less defense against infection from omicron and reduced, but still good, protection from hospitalization. The findings are preliminary and have not been peer-reviewed, but they line up with other early data about omicron’s behavior, including that it seems to be more easily spread from person to person.
Photo: A man receives his vaccination shot by a member of the Western Cape Metro EMS (Emergency Medical Services) at a mobile “Vaxi Taxi” which is an ambulance converted into a mobile COVID 19 vaccination site in Blackheath in Cape Town, South Africa, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. The omicron variant appears to cause less severe disease than previous versions of the coronavirus, and the Pfizer vaccine seems to offer less defense against infection from it but still good protection from hospitalization, according to an analysis of data from South Africa, where the new variant is driving a surge in infections. (AP Photo/Nardus Engelbrecht)